This post will tell you all about the TOEFL Reading Section questions you’ll encounter on the test.
Here is a quick reminder of the basic TOEFL Reading Section information:

  • The Reading Section is the first section out of 4 total test sections.
  • You’ll be given 3 to 4 reading passages and you must answer 10 questions per passage.
  • All answers are multiple choice throughout the Reading Section.

If you get a dummy passage, don’t worry. TOEFL dummy passages are given to test out new exam material.
You won’t know which passage is the dummy passage so you’re encouraged to try your best on all of them!

For 3 passages, you have 30 questions in total and 54 minutes to complete the section.
For 4 passages, you have 40 questions in total and 72 minutes to complete the section.

That’s the Reading Section in a nutshell!
Now, let’s get familiar with all 10 questions and boost your reading scores.

1. Fact Question.

This is the most basic question type on the Reading Section and many students consider it to be the easiest. The factual information question (or fact question,) asks you to identify true points from what you’ve read.

Examples include questions such as:

“According to the paragraph, which of the following is true?”


“According to the paragraph, ___ occurred because…”

Fact questions will ask you for what’s contained in the passage, so make sure to stay on the passage topic and choose answers that the passage clearly mentions.

2. Negative Fact Question.

This is the opposite of the fact question.

Examples of negative fact questions (or negative factual questions) include:

“Which of the following is NOT true?”


“The passage mentions all of the following EXCEPT…”

Negative fact questions will ask you for what’s not true about the passage, so make sure to slow down and keep an out eye out for the words “NOT” and “EXCEPT.”

3. Inference Question

Inference questions are trickier than fact questions. Instead of finding what’s simply true about the passage, you have to find what’s strongly implied from the passage.

Examples of inference questions include:

“What can you infer about ___?”


“The passage implies that ___”

Inference questions will ask you to find a strong point that is made in the passage. The correct answer is the one you can explain using only information from the text.

4. Rhetorical Purpose Question

“Rhetoric” means “the art of speaking and writing effectively.” Rhetorical purpose questions, therefore, ask you to identify what effect the writer of the passage is trying to deliver to the reader.

Examples of rhetorical purpose questions include:

“Why did the author mention ___ ?”


“The author explains ___ in the passage in order to…”

Rhetorical purpose questions can make the line between words and word meanings blurry. Practice your vocabulary skills to stay focused on the reason, not the implications of each word choice. Common phrases in the answers to rhetorical purpose questions include: “to illustrate,” “to explain,” and “to contrast.”

5. Vocabulary Question

Vocabulary questions ask you exactly what a word means.

Examples of vocabulary questions include:

“The word ___ is closest in meaning to…”


“In stating ___, the author means…”

Just because you’re looking for the definition doesn’t mean vocabulary questions are simple! You have to make sure you understand the context of the word as used in the passage in order to get the meaning right.

For example, “cats and dogs” in the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs” does not mean “animals,” but rather the whole expression, “it’s raining cats and dogs” is a figure of speech that means ” it is raining a lot.”

Use your context clues and look for the most relevant meaning!

6. Reference Question

Unlike inference questions, reference questions ask you to identify the relationship between two words. In this case, you’re not looking for an implication of meaning but rather the connection of two different words.

For example, a reference question can be phrased: “The word ___ in the passage refers to….”

Common connections include a pronoun and the word that the pronoun refers to (the antecedent).

Make sure that their tenses and context match, like “she” → “has”, not “she” → “have” for example.

7. Paraphrase Question

In a paraphrase (or sentence simplification) question, you have to find the sentence option that has the most similar meaning to the given sentence.

The sentence will be highlighted in the passage.

An example of a paraphrasing question is, “Which of the following best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence?”

Wrong answer choices tend to miss an important point from the passage and could misinterpret, or imply a different meaning from that in the reading passage.

8. Insert Text Question

An insert text question, or sentence insertion question, asks you to find the most logical and grammatically correct place to add a new sentence into the reading passage.

An example of an insert test question gives you a new sentence, then asks you where that sentence fits the best.

Wrong answer choices often ignore context, pronoun-antecedent relationships, or when read aloud, sound awkward within the passage as a whole piece of information. When you’re not sure, try reading the sentence out loud as you place it within the passage.

9. Summary Question

The summary question is usually one of the last questions for each passage. The question asks you to pick 3 major points from the reading passage out of 6 answer choices.

An example of a summary question gives you the main topic of the entire summary question, then leaves 3 bullet points underneath the topic with 6 answer choices listed below those blank bullet points.

Because this question is worth 2 points, you can get partial credit for getting some of the questions right. Incorrect answer choices include things that are too detailed to be a summary point and points that miss the given topic of the passage.

10. Fill in the Table Question

Fill-in-the-table questions are also given as one of the last questions for each passage.

The question will ask you to organize points from the passage by topic, much like a summary question but divided into two different topics.

An example of a fill-in-the-table question will provide a chart with two different topics listed on the side, 5 blank bullet points in total, and 7 answer choices to choose from.Like the summary questions, it is possible to get partial credit on the fill-in-the-table questions, up to 3 points for getting all 5 answers correct.

This question will test how well you can distinguish between topics in one reading passage, so make sure to categorize information by its most appropriate category.


Those are all 10 types of TOEFL Reading Questions given on the test so far!
Do you have a favorite reading question type? We’d love to hear about your take on the Reading Section.

Good luck with your studies!
From, your TestGlider team.


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